Breakout from cells of Maputo police command

Seven men described as “dangerous criminals” by the police escaped on Sunday and Monday from the cells of the Maputo City Police Command, reports Wednesday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”.

These cells are supposed to be the most escape-proof jail in the country, used to hold prisoners considered too dangerous for the top security jail in the outlying suburb of Machava.

Yet somehow these men, all of them accused of armed robbery, managed to saw through the bars on the cell windows.

“Mediafax” claims that an eighth prisoner, named as Domingos Mandlate, also attempted to escape but was recaptured by the police as he attempted to scale the wall separating the courtyard of the police command from the street outside.

The police have not released the names of the escapees. However, it seems that they do not include the country’s most notorious assassin, Anibal dos Santos Junior (“Anibalzinho”), the man who led the death squad that murdered Mozambique’s foremost investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso.

Anibalzinho is serving a 30 year sentence in the cells of the police command. He has already escaped from jail three times – twice from the top security jail, and most recently from the Police Command, in December 2008. He fled to South Africa where he was re-arrested in August 2009.

But this time Anibalzinho does not seem to have been included in the escape plans.

“Mediafax” reports that the police suspect that the escapees enjoyed some complicity from police guards. They escaped from cells that are at the top of a building, and to make their getaway had to cross a patio which is supposed to be under permanent patrol.

A report in the daily paper “Noticias” puts the number of escapees at six, and claims that they escaped at different times – three on Sunday and three on Monday night

The police are tight-lipped about the scandal and have not even released the names of the escapees. The spokesperson for the police command, Orlando Madumane, said it was “premature” to give any information about the escape.

Post published in: Africa News

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